Saturday, October 24, 2009

Australia's African Muslim "refugees" at work in Melbourne again

But they get extremely lenient sentences for their outrageous and explicitly racist crimes

A gang of racist youths nearly killed a man during an armed rampage in an Indian grocery store in Melbourne's west for the "sheer thrill" of the attack, a judge said today. Drunk and carrying wooden planks ripped up from a nearby bus stop seat, the seven youths raided the Impex shop in Sunshine yelling "are you Indian?" as they randomly struck their victims on December 1 last year, the County Court heard today.

Indian student Sukhraj Singh, 28, was in a coma for 15 days and will suffer the effects of a severe acquired brain injury for the rest of his life after being beaten during the assault. Eight men were punched and hit with the weapons and most suffered minor injuries but Mr Singh was beaten unconscious and spent months in hospital and rehabilitation after being struck three times to the head and body.

In sentencing one of the attackers, Zakarie Hussein, 21, of Braybrook, Judge Pamela Jenkins said today the group had deliberately targeted victims of Indian ethnicity in the "unprovoked rampage". The youths had been drinking beer in a park for about four hours before they went to the store in City Place just after 6.30pm where two of the teens began a racist argument with two customers, the court heard.

About five minutes later, the pair returned with their friends, most armed with wooden bars and one with a fluorescent light tube, and began smashing up the store and indiscriminately striking customers and staff as they yelled "are you Indian?" and "bloody Indians, f--- off". The shop's cash register was stolen and the loot divided up among the offenders. Hussein received about $15.

In a victim impact statement tendered to the court, Mr Singh said metal plates had been inserted into his face, he had shed up to 15 kilograms and been left with lumps and scars on his head from the assault. "I am lucky to be alive, all my friends and family thought I was going to die," Mr Singh said in the statement. He said he suffered from dizzy spells and had undergone counselling after being plagued by nightmares and flashbacks. The court heard his injuries had been potentially life-threatening and meant he had been unable to work for five months, may not be able to complete his studies and was too frightened to live alone.

Hussein had pleaded guilty to armed robbery, recklessly causing serious injury, and six counts of recklessly causing injury. Judge Jenkins said Hussein had not used his wooden weapon but had planned to before being knocked out of the way by a co-offender.

She said the victims had tried to cower from their attackers and had done nothing to provoke the attack. "Your victims presented no threat to you or your co-offenders whatsoever. They did not provoke you, they did not fight back and indeed they made every effort to escape from the assaults," she said. "Notwithstanding these circumstances the victims were beaten apparently for the sheer thrill, Mr Singh being subjected to a particularly savage beating with the terrible consequences for him."

Judge Jenkins said the assault was among a number of racist attacks that had rightly provoked international and local community outrage and should be condemned. "Short of becoming prisoners in their own homes, there is little potential victims can do to prevent such attacks," she said.

Judge Jenkins sentenced Hussein to four-and-a-half years' jail with a minimum non-parole period of two years. Hussein, dressed in a black suit and white shirt and supported in court by family, bit his nails throughout the hearing and stood with his hands clasped while he was sentenced to serve his time in an adult prison. The court heard he had migrated to Australia from Somalia, aged about six, with his older brother and mother, who were both later diagnosed with bipolar disorder. [Africans do have an unusually high incidence of psychotic illness and the psychoses do have a strong hereditary component]

Hussein had prior convictions including, for robbery, assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest.

Four of Hussein's co-offenders, aged between 14 and 17 at the time of the attack, had already received 12-month sentences in a youth detention centre and a fifth teen received a 12-month youth supervision order. The Director of Public Prosecutions Jeremy Rapke has appealed against the sentences, arguing they are "manifestly inadequate". The Court of Appeal is yet to hand down its judgment. A sixth offender, who has pleaded guilty in the Children's Court, will be sentenced following the result of the appeal.


What rubbish! Police bravado blamed in death

Audrey ought to go home and mind her kids, if she's got any. I am an unrelenting critic of police thuggery but the cop in this case behaved entirely reasonably. What was the cop supposed to do? Ignore the nut? This is at best totally misguided sympathy for the mentally ill. A person behaving in an extremely dangerous way has to be stopped, mad or not. The cop is not in a position to put someone on a couch for half an hour before he decides how to repond to his behaviour

A VICTORIAN policeman is facing the prospect of criminal charges over a fatal shooting after a coronial investigation into the death of a man brandishing two samurai-style swords referred the case to the Director of Public Prosecutions. State Coroner Audrey Jamieson yesterday found Sergeant Samuel Cahir failed to take an appropriate level of care for his own health and safety, or that of his junior officer, when he approached and shot dead Gregory Biggs on Melbourne's Lygon Street in May 2004. She described the death of 27-year-old Biggs as "a poignant example of the tragic consequences when the police rely too heavily on bravado and spontaneity at the expense of policy".

Sergeant Cahir was driving with Senior Constable John Hawkins down Lygon Street, a popular restaurant and tourist strip just north of the CBD, when they saw Biggs wielding two samurai-like swords and damaging property. While Senior Constable Hawkins turned the car around, Sergeant Cahir jumped out of the passenger side and approached Biggs alone. Drawing his gun, Sergeant Cahir said: "Police, don't move. Drop the weapon."

Biggs, under the influence of a cocktail of drugs at the time, continued to advance, swinging his swords and smashing the rear window of the police car. Fearing for his safety, Sergeant Cahir discharged one shot into the man's torso.

Ms Jamieson concluded Biggs's death was preventable [How?] and that Sergeant Cahir may have committed an indictable offence under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. The Coroner's comments follow a scathing Office of Police Integrity report handed down in July on the use of force by Victoria Police.

Deputy Police Commissioner Kieran Walshe said the finding, to his knowledge, was unprecedented. "This is the first time that I am aware of that a coroner has had a finding such as this but again, we have to await the outcome of the DPP," he said.

The Coroner said the investigation into Biggs's death "raised issues regarding Victoria Police training and communication techniques, including dealing with people with mental illness, people (who are) drug-affected and the use of firearms." She said Victoria Police should review the amount of time given to officers so they could complete operational strategy and tactics training. Referring to the two officers involved in the shooting, Ms Jamieson said, "Their training appears to have played such a small part in their actions ... "The actions of Sergeant Cahir are difficult to reconcile with the fact that he had been a fully operational officer for some 13 years."

OPI director Michael Strong earlier this year recommended giving frontline officers "alternatives to a hands-on approach that is heavily reliant on tactical equipment such as capsicum spray or firearms". "Training must refocus ... on equipping police with the necessary skills to accurately assess situations and identify individuals who may have a mental health problem or are under the influence of alcohol and drugs," the OPI report found.

Police Association boss Greg Davies said the Coroner's findings sent a message to serving police members that, "they are damned if they do and they are damned if theydon't. "I think the use of the term bravado is a very unfortunate term. I think it is very easy, five years down the track in the clear light of day, to judge something as an act of bravado," Mr Davies said. He said the death of Biggs makes a compelling argument for the rollout of Taser stun guns for frontline police.


Can a diet of cheese and dairy help you shed that unwanted fat?

This seems to be a reasonably strong study but I doubt that it will suit the food freaks. Cheese and dairy are popular and everything popular is wrong according to them. Cheese in particular has a lot of fat in it and fat is the original sin to food freaks. They are all still wedded to the counterfactual claim that fat gives you cancer, heart disease etc.

It has long been blamed for causing nightmares. But cheese may also give you a dream figure. A diet packed with cheese and other dairy products helps with weight loss, a study found. Australian slimmers were put on low-calorie diets which included varying amounts of cheese, yoghurt and low-fat milk.

Those who increased their daily servings of dairy products from three to five lost the most weight. They also had lower blood pressure, the least tummy fat and 'significantly improved' their chances of avoiding heart disease and diabetes.

The researchers, from Curtin University of Technology in Perth, said that although dairy products are widely perceived as being fatty, they have a place in the slimmer's shopping basket.

Dieters, however, should still keep an eye on their fat and calorie intake. Cheese and other dairy products are high in protein, which helps us feel full quickly and speeds up the metabolism. Laura Wyness, of the British Nutrition Foundation, said dairy products were a good source of calcium and vitamins, as well as protein. However, she warned that cheeses can be high in salt and advised dieters to check labelling before buying.



Three current reports below

Unbelievable failure to learn at Queensland's Bundaberg Public Hospital

The deaths and injuries caused by an incompetent Indian doctor at the hospital became a national disgrace but the same casual disregard of qualifications is still happening there. And for all its legions of "administrators", Queensland Health has done nothing about standards at what is one of their own hospitals

A new report by Queensland's health watchdog reveals overseas-trained doctors continue to work at Bundaberg without their credentials being properly checked. And it accuses the hospital of attempting to cover up its credentialling errors.

The Health Quality and Complaints Commission quoted from a review by PricewaterhouseCoopers that said: "The report also found that retrospective granting of credentialling still occurs at Bundaberg Base Hospital. "That is, in some cases practitioners commence work before being formally authorised to do so by the district manager or CEO. "The report pertinently points out the legal and reputational risks involved."

The commission said in one case the hospital could not even find a doctor's employment application. In two other cases there was no evidence of referee checks and and in three cases there was no evidence of more than one referee check.

A second report critical of Bundaberg's emergency department says there are inadequate bays, inadequate staff, inadequate security, inadequate radiology services and inadequate training.

That report, released by Opposition health spokesman Mark McArdle, warns that most medical staff have never been involved in a performance appraisal and that only a quarter of the nurses have "post-basic" qualifications.

The report, by Dr Peter Brennan of Melbourne University, also warns the emergency department was not ideal for children. "The waiting area, triage area security room and reception are very small and cramped," Associate Professor Brennan said. "The environment is not conducive to calm behaviour. The physical layout has given rise to some shortcomings in triage. "There is no separate area for children or babies to wait. The reviewer witnessed toddlers being mixed up with verbally abusive patients."

Dr Brennan said the "failed implementation" of a discharge policy "is clearly an issue of leadership".

Mr McArdle said the State Government had broken its promise to fix Bundaberg Hospital and was attempting to hide problems from the public gaze. The commission was even more scathing of the hospital – and Queensland Health. Its report, by Dr Tim Smart and Dr Jill Newland, found "defects in a number of areas", including "incomplete documents and forms, inadequate database fields, incomplete, out of date, inconsistent and inaccurate database entries, incomplete filing, inadequate bring-up systems, inadequate resources". There was a "lack of clear accountability and active leadership for credentialling".

The Bundaberg Hospital claimed it had reviewed the credentialling process and that improvements had been implemented. "The Dr Smart and Dr Newland reports indicate this could not have been the case," said the commission's chief executive, Cheryl Herbert. In other words, Bundaberg was papering over the cracks.

Ms Herbert reserved some of her harshest criticisms for the department running the hospital. She said: "There is no evidence that Queensland Health assists its facilities by providing uniform and standard databases, training and resources for credentialling ... Further, the Health Quality and Complaints Commission is concerned that Queensland Health does not promote or support a leadership culture that insists on 100 per cent compliance with credentialling at Bundaberg Base Hospital."

Her report last month was ignored by the metropolitan media.

Ms Herbert's sharp words were followed this week by more bad news for the executives of Queensland Health. The Australian Medical Association's annual report card shows the State Government is failing to stem a decline in vital areas of service. There are long waits at emergency departments and intolerable waiting lists for patients waiting for even the most urgent of surgeries.

More than 180,000 Queenslanders are languishing on the so-called waiting list to get on a waiting list, which was exposed during the 2005 health crisis with a total of about 110,000 people waiting.

The AMA said so-called "access block" in emergency departments and bed occupancy levels above the recommended safe level compromised patient care. Again, it's all about the beds. Emergency rooms remain clogged with patients waiting to be admitted. Elective surgery is cancelled when accidents happen because there are not enough beds.

In private hospitals, surgeons start cutting at 7am and often don't finish until 11pm or midnight. In public hospitals, strangled by numbers and union regulations, operations are mostly restricted to nine to five.

Since July 2008, the total number of available beds statewide increased by only 76. This is despite a population growth of more than 1000 a week.

Health Minister Paul Lucas remains invisible. He has been warned the severe shortage of beds in Queensland's public hospitals has contributed to "access block" and hospital bypass, lengthy elective surgery and emergency department waiting times.

Clearly, our public hospitals don't have the capacity to cope. The result is that people are dying needlessly. Successive state governments have failed to repair the system.


NSW bureaucrats think they know more about medical problems than the doctors do

A WOMAN was denied a late-term abortion at a leading Sydney hospital, forcing her to carry a severely deformed foetus with no chance of survival for an extra week, in a decision that has infuriated senior doctors. The doctors at the Royal Hospital for Women in Randwick are angry senior management vetoed their clinical decision and have called for clarification.

The hospital's termination review committee, made up of senior clinicians and hospital managers, considered the case of the woman who was 32 weeks' pregnant. The foetus had severe brain abnormalities and would have had no functional life, the Herald has been told. The abnormalities became evident late in the pregnancy and a termination was sought for the mother's wellbeing and safety.

The Herald understands the hospital's director, William Walters, and its medical superintendent, George Bearham, opposed the termination although others on the committee - including a psychiatrist, a pediatrician and an obstetrician - supported it. The Herald has been told clinicians at the hospital are concerned about the role of the managers in the decision.

NSW Health guidelines on terminations after 20 weeks' gestation call for an assessment to be made by a multi-disciplinary team "with a mix of skills and experience".

The Herald understands the decision was made within the past two weeks. The woman went into labour about a week later and the foetus was stillborn.

A spokeswoman for the South East Sydney Illawarra Health Service said the case was given the "most complete medical attention and consideration by a wide range of highly specialised medical, allied health and nursing professionals'', who collectively did not support the termination. However, the service did not respond to specific questions about whether the clinicians had been overruled.

Lachlan de Crespigny, the doctor at the centre of a late-term abortion controversy in 2000 in Victoria, said: "If this is the way women are treated, what does it say about the state's abortion laws?" He said it was wrong for a woman's life to be put on trial by an anonymous committee and that the decision should be left to the woman and her doctor.

Other specialists told the Herald they feared a clampdown on abortion within state public hospitals. The NSW Government was anxious to avoid a backlash from people opposed to abortion generally or to late-term procedures, they said.


The huge and unproductive costs of Australia's Medicare

Huge explosion of bureaucracy following the introduction of a "public option" for health insurance

By Dr Jeremy Sammut

Under the rubric of stimulus and economic security, the role of government has been significantly expanded across a range of sectors, including education, banking and finance. This new era of regulation and micromanagement threatens to crowd out private enterprise and civil society for a generation.

It is therefore timely to ponder Australia’s last great leap backwards towards socialism in 1984, right at the start of the long period of economic reform of the ’80s, ’90s, and the 2000s. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of Medicare. This year, the CIS has published a trilogy of papers cataloguing the damage Medicare has done to the Australian hospital system.

The short version of the story is that the era of ‘free’ public hospital care has led to the misallocation of huge amounts of taxpayer’s money to pay for massive and unnecessary growth in the size and cost of the health bureaucracy. The massive government expansion into the health sector has resulted in fewer and fewer health dollars out of ever-increasing hospital budgets reaching the frontline to pay for the health care the community wants and needs.

The decline of public hospitals into their present state of waste and inefficiency is proof, if further proof is needed, of what happens when dynamic and independent parts of our society become subject to the dead hand of statist domination and bureaucratic command-and-control.

We should remember the anniversary of Medicare when we calculate the cost of the GFC. The impact on the national bottom-line won’t only appear on the balance sheets for 2008–09. I fear we will be paying the price for the revenge of the political economy nerds for many years to come.

In 2009, the CIS published Radical Surgery by Professor Wolfgang Kasper (February); Why Public Hospitals are Overcrowded by Dr Jeremy Sammut (August); and The Past is the Future for Public Hospitals by Dr John Graham (October).

The above is part of a press release from the Centre for Independent Studies, dated October 23. Enquiries to Snail mail: PO Box 92, St Leonards, NSW, Australia 1590. Telephone ph: +61 2 9438 4377 or fax: +61 2 9439 7310

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